Last updated 5/19/2023 at 9:28am

Last week I talked about some of the changes that were made to the game of baseball in order to speed it up a bit. But I left out a couple of big changes that really need to be mentioned. One of the changes concerns the pitcher when there is a runner on base, mostly first base. The pitcher is now limited to make two throws over to first to keep the runner close especially if he is a base stealer. Now the pitcher can throw over a third time but he needs the first baseman to tag the runner out otherwise it is considered a balk and the runner will advance to second base.

Teams are now not allowed to have an overloaded infield as in they can no longer have three infielders on one side of second base either the right or left. The shortstop or second baseman has to be to one side of that base and not behind it. The only time that more than two infielders can be on one side of second base is if an outfielder comes in to play as an infielder usually in the ninth inning or later with the winning run at third base and less than two outs normally. I hope this helps if you care at all. I watched enough baseball this week to glean the info for these rule changes.

Okay, the 16th annual Undeberg Invitational track meet was held this past Saturday and the weather was beautiful. I don’t remember an Invitational either Undeberg or the old Ritzville Invitational where the temperature was in the 80s. I was prepared since I wore a long sleeve T-shirt and only my hands show any redness. Weird how the weather went from cold to hot so fast but that is the nature of spring in eastern Washington.

Once again Mark Meyer helped with the long and triple jump. Catching up is fun but as long as the day is we keep so darn busy that exchanging old stories isn’t that easy any more. I appreciate how much he enjoys this track meet and as a volunteer he travels farther than anyone all the way from the shores of the Pacific Ocean. For sure we have fun and we’re happy to still be able to help out at this meet.

If anyone is concerned about this generation I’ll just let you know that there are some super kids out there and the respect these track athletes show us is great to witness. And some of them even get our humor and laugh along with us.

It is certainly interesting to see that the best long, triple and high jumper is from a 1B school and he is only a junior. I marveled at him last year and I’m more impressed with him this year. I see a lot of inconsistency where an athlete jumps from either a couple feet behind the line or scratch by going over the line. This kid is always jumping from the middle of the line. His timing and technique are really neat to see. He is an athlete for sure but his best days are ahead of him.

This young man beat 1B, 2B, 1A and 2A jumpers on Saturday. How important is technique and timing? I saw a young man with long legs, something I’m not blessed with, struggle with his jumps. I asked if he had a jumping coach and he said no. How sad to be at a 2A school and not be able to give a potential long jumper a few pointers and help him gain 3 – 5 feet in his jumps. It hurts to see a kid’s potential get wasted.

The boys’ triple jump follows the long jump and is one of the last events to finish. There are a lot of athletes and many of them are competing in other events. We want to make sure these kids get their distances in as the track season winds through May. We made a few athletes and coaches happy with how the event was handled. The weird thing is as sore as I was on Sunday after my measuring aerobic exercises I’m already looking forward to next year’s Undeberg. Maybe more than Ground Hog’s day this track meet is the first sign of spring.

— Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. To contact him, email [email protected].


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